Government wants to establish ‘Bangabandhu Academy of Public Administration’ in the protected forest area
Several notable environmental organizations have written to the authorities concerned demanding the cancellation of the lease of 700 acres of hilly forest land under Jhilangja Mouza of Cox's Bazar Sadar, acquired to establish “Bangabandhu Academy of Public Administration”.
Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa), Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) and Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) voiced the demand in a joint letter sent to the ministries and government agencies concerned on Sunday.
They also asked the government to cancel the project and extend the existing Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre located in Savar on 54 acres.
Naming an establishment after Bangabandhu after destroying the forests, biodiversity and wildlife habitats would only be disrespectful towards the Father of the Nation, they said.
Regarding the lease of the 700-acre land, the Forest Department on January 6, 2019 stated that the area was part of a protected forest, objecting to its acquisition by the Land Ministry.
Moreover, according to the State Acquisition and Tenancy Act, 1950, forest lands are non-retainable property.
The Forest Department also said that the proposed area was a hilly forest area under the department’s custody, and hills and hilly slopes would only be reserved for forestry according to the Land Ministry’s directives.
As Jhilangja Mouza had been declared as an ecologically critical area, deforestation or any activity that might damage or alter the natural features of the land were prohibited, the department noted.
The organizations observed that the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in India was built on just 189 acres of land, while Bangladesh’s Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban was constructed on 215 acres of land.